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CNY volunteers head to Buffalo to help with 2022 blizzard recovery efforts

CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — It’s been more than a year since Buffalo was slammed with a damaging snowstorm over the 2022 Christmas weekend. Now, a group of volunteers from Operation Northern Comfort are heading to Buffalo this weekend to help with recovery efforts.

Areas of Buffalo were slammed over the 2022 Christmas weekend, leaving weeks, even months of cleanup.

“They didn’t have electricity, so the burst pipes and the water sat there freezing for like multiple days, almost a week before they had the power, turned back on and they were able to start cleaning up,” said Laurel Flanagan, CEO of Operation Northern Comfort.

Volunteers from Operation Northern Comfort will be doing just that after spending nearly a week in Buffalo this past June, helping a local church get back on its feet.

“They needed to get the space open to hold the elections. It was a polling place for that neighborhood and they wanted to be able to continue to hold the election that was happening in June,” said Flanagan.

Volunteers successfully opened that area of the church. But the cleanup isn’t over.

“We leave on Sunday and we will be staying for four days in Buffalo working on the rest of the spaces to get them back to the way they were before,” said Flanagan.

As of right now, the church is only partially open. But volunteers are hoping to change that before heading back home to Central New York.

“If perchance we don’t finish by Wednesday, then we absolutely would come back and help them a third time. But our team is really good and I have a lot of confidence in them, and they tell me they can get it done by Wednesday, so we’re going with that,” said Flanagan.

The hard work and dedication are 100 percent volunteer-based, and those with Operation Northern Comfort say every second is worth it.

“People are in the worst moments of their lives and they need help so badly and they are just so grateful and it gives you perspective about what’s important in life,” said Flanagan.

“Although it seems like a year is a long time since we were in Buffalo. It’s not and people are patient and they are grateful for the help that we give,” said Flanagan.

Volunteers from Operation Northern Comfort will be leaving Central New York on Sunday and plan on heading back home on Wednesday.

They are always in need of volunteers. Whether it’s for their upcoming Buffalo trip or future service trips.

Click here to learn how you can help.

Operation Northern Comfort is also getting ready for its 2024 Crawfish Festival.

The annual event will be held on Saturday, May 4, in Clinton Square from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

All of the money raised at the festival will go towards Operation Northern Comfort’s service trips.

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